Some of you with other ACC affiliations are, no doubt, tired of all the talk about that North Carolina-Duke rivalry. The rest of you understand completely that it remains the best rivalry in college basketball and should be revered as such.So, here’s a rundown on some of the more notable games in the series which should set the table for Sunday’s finale in Chapel Hill*
In chronological order:
THE FRED LIND GAME. March 2, 1968: No. 10 DUKE 87, No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 86 3OT – Seldom used junior Fred Lind erupted for 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks after having only scored 21 points total in his entire career. No, that’s not a misprint – that’s CAREER. At the conclusion of the game, the students carried Lind to Duke’s main quad (where they set him and a venerable Duke bench on fire?).
THE EIGHT POINTS IN SEVENTEEN SECONDS GAME. March 2, 1974: No. 4 NORTH CAROLINA, 96, DUKE 92 OT – The Blue Devils led the Heels 86-78 with 17 seconds left. Although it was prior to the three-point shot, Carolina rallied with a pair of free throws and two forced turnovers, and then tied the score on Walter Davis's 30 foot bank shot as time expired. The Tar Heels won in overtime capping what may be the greatest comeback in college basketball history. It was certainly one of the shortest.
THE SPANARKEL SNOOZEFEST GAME. February 24, 1979: No. 6 DUKE 47, No. 4 NORTH CAROLINA 40 – Duke’s Jim Spanarkel’s Senior Day game was an odd affair as the Heels ran the four corners offense throughout the first half and were scoreless at intermission. Eventually, Spanarkel would score 15 points in the second half and finish with a game-high 17 points, hitting 8-of-9 field goal attempts.
THE BACK WHEN TAR HEEL NATION LIKED MATT DOHERTY GAME. December 5, 1980: No. 10 NORTH CAROLINA 78, DUKE 76 – UNC stars Al Wood and Sam Perkins were in foul trouble, but James Worthy did his best to pick up the slack, leading the Tar Heels with 26 points. Gene Banks gave Duke its second lead of the game, 73-71, with 2:36 left to play. North Carolina came back to tie the game at 76. Future Tar Heel head coach Matt Doherty, a freshman at the time, was then fouled, and hit a free throw with 12 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin.
THE GENE BANKS TUXEDO GAME. February 28, 1981: DUKE 66, No.11 NORTH CAROLINA 65 (OT) – Senior Gene Banks put on a tuxedo and threw roses to the home crowd, and the Blue Devils nursed a 46-45 lead late in regulation. Two Sam Perkins free throws gave Carolina a 58-56 lead with two seconds to play, but Tuxedo Banks hit a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime. To no one’s surprise, in retrospect, Banks (25 points) rebounded a miss and banked home the game-winner with 19 seconds to go.
THE ADIOS MICHAEL, HELLO AIR JORDAN GAME. March 3, 1984: No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 96, DUKE 83 2OT – Senior Night for Doherty, Jordan and Sam Perkins looked grim until the Blue Devils missed the front end of a one-and-one. Doherty took the inbounds pass the length of the court and hit a 15-footer with one second remaining to force overtime. The teams traded baskets during the first overtime, and eventually Jordan and Perkins carried the Tar Heels to the victory. UNC became the first ACC team in 10 years to go undefeated in conference play (14-0).
THE OH-FOR-FOUR GAME. January 21, 1988: No. 9 DUKE 70, No.2 NORTH CAROLINA 69 – Danny Ferry made a free throw with 52 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin, but not before North Carolina forced a turnover and failed to convert on four field goal attempts in the final 30 seconds. J.R. Reid was a monster for the Tar Heels netting 27 points. This was the first of three Duke victories for the season.
THE J.R. CAN REID GAME. March 12, 1989: No.9 NORTH CAROLINA 77, No. 7 DUKE 74 – And then it got a little ugly. In a very intense ACC tournament final set up by a regular season split, the Tar Heels earned their first ACC tourney title in seven years. UNC had previously defeated then undefeated Duke at Cameron in the infamous “J.R. Can’t Reid” game. Tensions between coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski boiled over during Tournament week, stemming from the Reid sign in Durham in January, and by the time the two teams inevitably met in the conference championship, the game had developed the atmosphere of a heavyweight title fight. The game saw an incredible 49 fouls called between the two squads. Carolina prevailed, but only when Ferry's 3/4 court shot rimmed out as time expired.
THE MONTROSS, BLOODY MONTROSS GAME. February 5, 1992: No. 9 NORTH CAROLINA 75, No. 1 DUKE 73 – There was blood. In a close game with 10 first-half lead changes, the Tar Heels survived a 9 ½ minute field goal drought by making free throws. Derrick Phelps hit two with 44.5 seconds remaining to give UNC a 75-73 lead. Christian Laettner had two shots to tie the game in the final 24 seconds, but missed both. However, the lasting image from this game was Eric Montross’s bloody face. Looking more like a boxer than a basketball player, he made two late free throws to help ice the game. The image is now a staple of the rivalry.
THE MIKE KRYZEWSKI’S BACK HURTS SO LET’S THROW PETE GAUDET UNDER THE BUS GAME or THE JEFF CAPEL SHOT GAME. February 2, 1995: No.2 NORTH CAROLINA 102, DUKE 100 2OT – With Coach K on a leave of absence, Duke suffered through their worst season in over a decade. The Tar Heels led early behind Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse, but the beleaguered Devils charged back. With three seconds left in the first overtime, Carolina led 95-92 and sent Serge Zwikker to the foul line with the chance to ice the game. He promptly missed both free throws, setting up Duke's Jeff Capel for a running, 37-foot heave that tied the game at the buzzer. Needless to say the Crazies were excited. With the game still tied late in the second overtime, Donald Williams scored for Carolina and Jeff McInnis stole the inbounds pass for an easy layup, putting the Heels up 102-98. Steve Wojciechowski's last jumper missed and Greg Newton's desperation put back drew nothing but air, preserving UNC's 102-100 victory to Zwikker’s obvious relief.
THE ELTON BRAND CAN PLAY GAME. February 28, 1998: No.1 DUKE 77, No.3 NORTH CAROLINA 75 – Duke freshman Elton Brand rallied the Blue Devils from a 64-47 second-half deficit with 12 minutes remaining to a 77-75 victory. Ouch. In addition, the win made the Devils the ACC regular-season champion, and gave Coach K his 500th victory. Both point guard Ed Cota and freshman center Brendan Haywood had a chance to tie the game from the free-throw line in the waning seconds, but both missed the first of two free throws. Ouch, again.
THE WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JOE FORTE? GAME: February 3, 2000: No.3 DUKE 90, NORTH CAROLINA 86 OT – UNC entered the game unranked for the first time in 10 years, and Shane Battier made them pay. Battier had 14 points in the first half while the Heels were committing 14 turnovers. Duke’s lead ballooned to 19 points before Carolina rallied, scoring on 19 of their final 22 possessions. North Carolina’s Joe Forte canned a triple with 5.2 seconds left to force the extra period, but it was all Duke in the final frame.
THE BRENDAN HAYWOOD’S REVENGE GAME. February 1, 2001: No. 4 NORTH CAROLINA 85, No. 2 DUKE 83 – Carolina’s Brendan Haywood, who had missed a chance to beat Duke at the free throw line two years prior, entered this contest shooting 48 percent from the line. None the less, he made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left to win the game. Duke tied it for the last time with 9.3 seconds left on a three-pointer by Mike Dunleavy, Jr., which provided T.A.H. Pop Culture and UNC Basketball Trivia Editor, Young A.T., with one of her finest moments as a Tar Heel loyalist. When Dunleavy’s first of six three-point attempts swished through as the clock wound down, Young A.T. verbally assaulted the television with “F***, F***, F***!!!!!!” Luckily, Haywood saved the day.
THE COLLINS V. DOHERTY LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT ONE ROUND FIGHT GAME. March 9, 2003: NORTH CAROLINA 82, No.10 DUKE 79 – Fiesty UNC coach Matt Doherty and Duke assistant coach Chris Collins "bumped heads" after Carolina’s Raymond Felton was injured by Dahntay Jones while both players were looking for a rebound. Subsequently, Duke’s Andre Buckner bumped Doherty and several players from both teams became involved in shoving matches before “cooler heads prevailed.” Nothing else about the game is particularly memorable.
THE OL’ ROY’S NOT-SO-HOT DEBUT GAME: February 4, 2004: No.1 DUKE 83, No.17 NORTH CAROLINA 81 OT – In Roy Williams’s first rivalry game, Chris Duhon's reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left in overtime gave Duke its 16th straight victory overall and fifth victory in the last six years on North Carolina's home court.
THE DAVID NOEL ISN’T SUPPOSED TO TAKE THE LAST SHOT GAME. February 9, 2005: No.7 DUKE 71, No.2 North Carolina 70 – In a game ESPN hyped to the max, both teams had below average shooting nights as the final score demonstrates. Duke led most of the way while Sean May (23 points, 18 rebounds) kept the Heels close. North Carolina got within a point at 71-70 with under a minute to play. After Redick air balled a shot, Felton had a clear lane to the basket, but chose to try to run the called play. The Blue Devils saw it coming, and a subsequent double team left Felton without an option and ultimately the Heels without a final shot.
THE MARVIN WILLIAMS SAVES THE DAY GAME. March 6, 2005: No.2 NORTH CAROLINA 75, No. 6 DUKE 73 – This game looked so much like a Duke win, that even after it was over it still seemed like the Blue Devils had won. On Senior Day in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels trailed Duke 73-64 with three minutes to play. Sean May rebounded a miss of his own, was fouled on the put back, and converted the free throw to trim the lead to 73-71 with 1:45 to go. With under a minute to go, David Noel knocked the ball away from Daniel Ewing, and Raymond Felton grabbed it for Carolina setting up a game-tying possession. Sound familiar? See above.
This time, Felton took the ball to the hoop and drew a foul. Felton nailed the first free throw to cut the lead to one, but missed the second one, but somehow managed to tip the rebound to Marvin Williams. Williams scored and drew the foul, giving the Tar Heels the lead and blowing the roof off the Smith Center in the process. The free throw made it 75-73. J.J. Redick’s final three-pointer rimmed out. The win propelled the Heels to the National Championship and Williams, Felton, May and Rashad McCants to the NBA.
THE BEGINNING OF THE HANSBROUGH RUN AT CAMERON or SO LONG J.J. REDICK GAME. March 4, 2006: No. 13 NORTH CAROLINA 83, No. 1 DUKE 76 – It was senior night for National Player of the Year and all-time ACC leading scorer J.J. Redick and two-time National Defensive Player of the Year Shelden Williams. North Carolina, the defending national champions, had lost the whole core of the team that won it all the year before, but came into the game on a 4-game winning streak. Freshmen Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green led North Carolina. ESPN broadcast the game on all three of its channels as part of its first ESPN Full Circle coverage, showing a marathon of past games hours before tipoff. Duke led early 13-2 as Redick caught fire and hit his first five shots. The Tar Heels fought back, cutting the deficit to one by halftime. Then Carolina stormed to a 72-62 second half lead. In spite of Hansbrough’s first ever shot-clock beating three-pointer, the Blue Devils gradually pulled within three points with 1:31 left. That was as close as it would get. The Heels hit their free throws down the stretch while Redick missed 15 of his last 16 shots. The game was watched by 3.78 million households on ESPN and ESPN2, making it the most-viewed men's college basketball game ever.
THE G IS THE REAL VICTIM HERE GAME. March 4, 2007: No. 8 NORTH CAROLINA 86, No. 1 DUKE 72 – There was blood. This game, which was part of a UNC season sweep, might not have been particularly memorable had not Gerald Henderson decided to assault Tyler Hansbrough’s nose with a mere 14.5 seconds left in the game. The contact broke Hansbrough's nose, drawing blood. The officials charged Henderson with a combative foul and ejected him from the game. After the foul, Hansbrough jumped up with blood streaming from his nose, but was calmed by his teammate Dewey Burke, before heading to the locker room for medical attention. The foul generated a variety of debates, including why both players were still playing so late in a game with the outcome determined. Since then, both Hansbrough and Henderson have stated the foul was unintentional. People in Durham believe Henderson, the folks eight miles down the road in Chapel Hill aren’t buying it.
THE EVE CARSON GAME. March 8, 2008. No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 76, No. 6 DUKE 68. Danny Green scored 18 points and Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough added 16 each. The most memorable moment of the game was the moment of silence held prior to tip off for murdered UNC student president Eve Carson, who was killed earlier that week in Chapel Hill. The unilateral show of sportsmanship and compassion will remain a hallmark of this storied rivalry.
THE HANSBROUGH INDOOR STADIUM GAME. February 11, 2008: No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 101, No. 5 DUKE 87 – Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Bobby Frasor completed a freshmen-to-senior sweep of the Blue Devils at Cameron. Duke charged out to a 52-44 halftime lead, but UNC played tough defense in the second half while Ty Lawson was scoring 21 of his 25 points. The game’s most memorable moment was a screen shot of Coach K screaming (and spraying spit) on his players during a second half time out.
*props to Wikipedia for providing the date, score and summary for most of these games.
(Photosw by Andy Hayt/SI, Heinz Kluetmeier/SI., Manny Millan/SI, Albert Dickson/Icon SMI, AP Photos, Bob Rosato/SI)